Saturday, May 03, 2014
Draw Your Own Conclusions
We do quite a bit of art work relating to the Scriptures in my five Bible classes. Few of the kids are good artists but many have great imaginations and bring out great insights that have escaped me, their instructor. This is from October 28, 2005.
We took a detour from the normal routine in my Bible classes yesterday. We took no quizzes, recited no memory verses, and transcribed no notes into our three-ring binders. Instead, we spent the first fifteen minutes of the forty-six allotted to us watching the Visual Bible. This film series covers the Gospel of Matthew, using the narrative as its text. After our viewing, I gave the students 8 1/2" by 11" sheets of white construction paper with these directions: draw a scene from the life of Jesus. The assignment was met with mixed reaction. Some were glad for the break in the daily grind. Some complained because of their lack of drawing ability. Some were excited because of the chance to showcase their artistic gifts. I did tell them they had to, like all artists, sign their name to the front of their masterpiece. My senior teacher aides (Beverly, Bouba, and Viri) have hung them on the wall, changing my classroom into a makeshift gallery. The results were predictable and at the same time, unpredictable. You would assume the best artists would have the easiest time with the project but that isn't the case. Artistic kids like to contemplate about their work while the non-artistic kids just take off. Since there was no advance warning and only thirty minutes to finish, the more talented kids struggled while a number of the non-artistic types flourished. I have my favorite. Sophomore Brett West's picture, which he deemed "Afro Jesus", shows the Messiah kicking the merchants out of the temple with the words, "Get out of my father's house!!!!!!!" Tenth grader KC Smith showed me his sketch which consisted of a blue stripe and a red stripe surrounding a blank white middle. I asked him what it was and he said, "Water to wine, Coach." It wasn't the most intricate piece but it worked for me.
My classes use the Bible as our curriculum, supplemented by a number of videos. One is Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew, based on his book of the same title. Yancey takes clips from various movies about Jesus and shows how the Lord is portrayed in different films. The wide variety of portrayals is shocking and sometimes offensive to my students, especially to those who have good knowledge of the Scriptures. They see a Jesus who does not fit the profile their minds have concocted. Other versions of Jesus are wrong but they can't tell always say why. I have seen the Yancey video so many times that it has lost its shock value but I can relate to kids who disagree with the images they see. Stephen Stills once said in a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song to, "remember that Jesus Christ was the first non-violent revolutionary." In his book The Man Nobody Knows, Bruce Barton claimed Jesus was the greatest salesman who ever lived. I have read the Bible through a number of times and I don't see in Jesus a salesman or a revolutionary. I see what he called himself, a servant. That's my position and I am not comfortable with anyone challenging it. My students often challenge my mental images. This week, it was with the way Angel Liboy drew Jesus as bald. Is my vision more accurate than his? Maybe that's why we don't know what Jesus looked like. It doesn't matter if Jesus was short or tall, thin or stocky, bald or bushy headed. It's funny that Jesus is almost always shown as handsome (and his mother Mary is beautiful.) We're more comfortable with a good looking Savior than a homely one. Maybe that is just Hollywood. The historical Bonnie and Clyde were not nearly as attractive as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty played them in the movie about their life and crime spree. In 1st Corinthians 2, Paul says "we have the mind of Christ." That's what is important. It's the attitude of the Lord and not his facial features. I believe I'm making some progress in my spiritual development. If so, some credit has to go to my students. They show me things in the Scriptures I have never seen before. Jesus said the fully trained student will be like his teacher. I take that as a compliment! I hope my students do as well.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I picture him (Jesus) as very Mediterranean and very intense, a combination of Pacino and DeNiro."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 7:00 PM